“We would rather not take books between the Fourth of July and Labor Day.”
You’ll find this line or a variation of it throughout our guidelines for donors. It seems pretty simple, so let me clarify it.
First off, please read that carefully. You’d be surprised how many people think it means “We take books ONLY between the Fourth of July and Labor Day.” Please do not think this. The number of people who think they can bring their books the day we open the Book Fair and we will shout “Hooray! Now we have books to sell!” is truly alarming.
We have this moratorium period because we need to get things ready for the Book Fair, we have to HOLD the Book Fair, and we have to tidy up and lick our wounds after the Book Fair. If you bring me eighteen garbage bags full of paperbacks fifteen minutes before opening time, you are a distraction.
Second, the Library is CLOSED on July 3, so we really would prefer that 4 P.M. July 2, 2010 be your deadline.
Third, we will not shoot at you, throw your books in the garbage, or make nasty entries about you in our vast computer files if you DO bring us books on July 6 or August 11. Life is not perfect, and we know that sometimes the rules get bent. We will grumble, but we will take your books, unless you have the manners of the man who tried to bring us a truckload just before opening. People actually bring book donations with them when they come to shop at the Book Fair. We will circle our fingers near our ears, but not while the donor is looking. Yes, you did hear what you thought you heard me muttering when I took the boxes out of your trunk. But I’ll be honest; I mutter the same when you bring me that many in February.
Fourth, when I say I’d rather you didn’t bring me books after July 2, this does not mean I’m begging you to bring me your videos, records, or cassettes. (Especially cassettes. A conservation minded soul gave me a thousand audiocassettes last year, each wrapped in an individual sandwich bag. I really must put these out for sale this year, and I am facing revolution on the part of the volunteers I have asked to stick price stickers on these. I guess I know what I’ll be doing over the Fourth of July weekend.) What I MEAN is that I’d rather you don’t donate anything during the period when we’re trying to clear the decks for action.
Fifth, if you called for us to pick up your books and our volunteer hasn’t gotten to you yet, we do NOT cut you off until September. You called before July 4, and we want to fetch your books if we can. It’s just that sometimes we lose your phone number or the volunteer loses your phone number or the volunteer has to go out of town suddenly. We’re still working on it.
Sixth, if you’re worried that our cut-off means you won’t find lots and lots of books to browse among at the end of July, think again. (We’re up to 171 boxes of art books alone! I may have to ask the Newberry to build an annex right quick, or rent shelf space at the A.C. McClurg Bookstore.) We’re ahead of last year’s total by about seven tables’ worth of books, and we’ll go on sorting, pricing, and packing for a while yet.
All the rule really means is that we’re trying to tie up loose ends and would rather not have books and maybe you have to bring us books and the worst we will do if you show up with books is grumble that you aren’t very nice. If you can live with the burden of that, so be it.